Saturday, November 25, 2017

Episode 1: Twinstinct

“A tear of joy produced two twins, whose powers were good. Born from evil, changed by happiness, and transformed into two, the powers work only when the twins are in contact with one another. Vanessa and Vander Smith are all powerful, for they are the Twins of a Tear of Joy, and are capable of greatness.”

That happened so long ago. Twelve years later, Susan Smith shook away the thought and called to her two teens. "Vander! Vanessa!" she shouted, "We need to get moving if we're going to get you to school on time!" It was Thursday, February 22, 2027, and the Smith household was running late. Not the ideal way for Vander to begin his birthday, but never the less.

"I'm coming!" blue-eyed Vanessa Smith hollered back, running into the kitchen as she brushed her long brown hair, "You know, if you let me use my magic to get ready, we'd be at school by now!" Setting the brush onto the table, the girl took her seat and waited for her brother. He may have beaten her out of the womb, but she has beaten him everywhere else since.

"I don't want to hear it." Susan snipped, handing her daughter a plate of scrambled eggs and sausage, "I refuse to raise another child to become dependent on magic!" Vanessa lowered her head. "Sorry, mom." she sighed, taking a bite of her breakfast as Vander entered the scene.

"Happy birthday to me!" the other young blue-eyed brunette announced, flinging his arms through the air and hopping into his chair, "What's for breakfast on this special day?!"

"I made scrambled eggs because they are quick and easy." his mother replied, giving him a plate, "We'll all go out for dinner after school and you can get whatever you want then. Eat up."

Vander looked at the plate and shrugged. The boy was never too picky when it came to food, so scrambled eggs were just as good a breakfast as anything else. "You know what I want?" he said after a bit of chewing, "Rice pudding."
"Why rice pudding?" Vanessa questioned, "You've never even had it!"
"I don't know." he shrugged, "I just saw this picture on Insta of it and it looked really good."

"Well, figure out for sure and let me know when you get home." Susan ordered, grabbing the keys to her electric scooter and walking to the door, "I'm heading out; have a nice day!"

"See ya at school!" Vander yelped as she left. Susan Smith was the principal of Gilbert Hoffman High School, not that it made things any easier. Their mom had always insisted they keep their powers secret, which was hard enough without the constant urge to blast some of their fellow classmates in the face every now and again.

The twins scarfed down the rest of their food in a hurry, tossing their dishes into the sink unrinsed and heading outside with their bags. It was a fifteen-minute walk to school, which started in ten. They were definitely going to be late - unless, they used a little magic.

"You know what mom says!" Vander scolded when his sister brought up the idea, "If we rely too much on our powers, we won't know what it is like not to have them!"

"C'mon, Vander!" Vanessa argued, "Just this once? Do it as a birthday present for yourself!"

"We both know you just want to be able to meet Matt Thomas before class." Vander retorted, silencing his sister, "You wait on him hand and foot and he still hasn't caught on! He probably isn't even interested, Van!"

"He is too interested!" she asserted, "He's just shy."
"The class president is shy?" Vander scoffed, "It makes perfect sense that the kid who received the National Award for Public Speaking is shy. Ha!"

Vanessa rolled her eyes and looked ahead. "Shut up." she grumbled.

They somehow managed to get to school at exactly eight o'clock, and hurried to their lockers. As Vander shut his locker door, the bell rang. "Dang it!" he cursed, hurrying to his first period, "Miss Clatch is gonna have it in for me!"

Miss Eliza Clatch was a really nice woman when one got to know her personally, but in the classroom, the authority got to her head. She was extremely strict, threatening to put students in the corner if they misbehave. High school students being put in the corner was a terrifying thought in its own right, but it did not end there.
In the front of the room was a bulletin board with every one of her student's names on it. If they misbehaved, she would move their name from the 'Nice' side to the 'Naughty' side in a ceremonious show of embarrassment. If more than 15% of her students were on the 'Naughty' side by the end of the class period, the entire class would be issued a three-page essay on the day's lesson. Needless to say, her classes never misbehaved.

Vander took a breath before entering the classroom. All eyes immediately flashed upon him. "Vander Smith, you are late." Miss Clatch stated sternly, "Another student thinking they can get away with anything on their birthday. Go sit in the corner!"
The boy sighed, complying with the woman's demands. Explaining was no use, for it would be labeled as disrespecting authority and earn him even more corner-time.

"Now that everyone is here." she began as Vander took his seat, "Let us begin with today's lesson."

Vanessa missed her meet-up with Matt and went straight to class. Her first period was Art, and it was great. Sure, she wasn't the most talented artist in the school, but having art class first period was a blessing. Vanessa could start off every day with forty minutes of doodling for a grade! Appleyard, the "creative department teacher" as the district called her, said she was very talented but the idea of entering competitions with doodles made Vanessa cringe. What she did was not art. It was just scribbles on a page.

"Sorry I'm late, Appleyard." Vanessa apologized upon entry, "We lost power last night and so no one's alarm went off."
Appleyard returned with a smile. "No worries, Vanessa!" she assured, "If I had a nickel for every time I was late, I definitely wouldn't be here teaching for a living." Vanessa let out a quick chuckle and sat in her seat, glancing over at her best friend's work. It was amazing as usual.

"Please tell me you are entering that in a contest." Vanessa complimented, "That is awesome, Olivia!"

Olivia Barnes smiled as she blew the eraser bits off from her work. She signed 'thank you, maybe' and continued working. The girl had blond hair and beautiful hazel eyes that spoke for her. Anyone who wasn't fluent in ASL could gauge the just of what she was saying with the look in her eyes alone. She was unaware of the twins' magic, but Vanessa knew she'd keep it secret if she decided to tell her.

"You better!" Vanessa replied, "I mean if I had the money, I'd even buy it!" Olivia smirked and then nodded. Still admiring her friend's work, Vanessa reached into her desk and took out her class sketchbook. It was about five inches tall and three wide, and was filled with hundreds of Vanessa's doodles. She flipped open to her latest, a powerful girl with blond hair and green eyes, and started shading in the nose. Appleyard looked over her shoulder to comment but stopped herself. She knew better than to say anything about it.

After class let out, Vanessa and Olivia met up with Vander at his locker. 'Happy Birthday' Olivia signed to Vander as he shut his locker. "Thanks!" Vander chirped, "You are actually the first to wish me that." Shooting his sister a look, Vander continued, "Miss Clatch put me in the corner by the way. Not fun."
"Forget that witch, Van!" Vanessa huffed, "I bet she also goes home and kills puppies too; don't let her ruin your day."
'Yes, forget her' Olivia added in, fiercely supporting her friend's brother on his birthday.

"Don't worry about it," Vander assured as the group walked down the hall to their next class, "we all know I'm like the biggest optimist in the world!" The boy always saw the rainbow waiting to glow after the storm, and his birthday did not change that. If anything, it increased his optimism that much more.

"Good morning Vanessa and Olivia." Miss Henry greeted when they entered, "And happy birthday, Vander!" Miss Henry was the most-liked teacher in school. She had short blue hair that bounced with every step and always wore at least five large gawky rings, sometimes more. Standing about 5'8", the teacher was always in a good mood and never let anyone bring her down.

"Thanks, Miss Henry!" Vander smirked, taking his seat as the bell rang, "What're we learning today?"

Miss Henry sashayed over to her desk, her blue dress swishing this way and that as she went. "We will be covering some basic trigonometric functions." she replied, picking up her lesson plans and flipping through, "Looks like sine, cosine, and tangent today, then cosecant, secant, and cotangent tomorrow. Oh boy, that seems like a lot - we better get started."

"What was that?" Vander gulped, looking to Vanessa as they headed out of Miss Henry's classroom, "Those graphs were terrifying!" Olivia smiled as she turned to her locker and the twins kept going. "You gotta help me." Vander whispered to his sister.

"Oh, so now you are willing to disobey mom's orders." Vanessa sassed, "I see how it is."

"C'mon, V!" he whimpered, "Please just say you'll help." His sister rolled her eyes and smirked, "I guess I could, but you'll owe me."

"Yes, fine, whatever!" Vander assured, not caring what his sister's motives were, "Thank you, sis! You are the bomb!" "I know." she chirped, turning to enter her next class, "We'll do it after school."

Later that day, Vander descended the stairwell and pushed aside a pile of boxes, snatching the hidden key from beneath and inserting it into the door before him. School had just gotten out and the boy was anxious to get his and his sister's plan done and over with.

"There you are!" Vanessa exclaimed as Vander walked into the large storage room of Gilbert Hoffman High School that served as the twins' secret base, "We've been waiting forever!"

"Hey!" Vander greeted the blond boy his sister stood by, "What are you doing here, Matt?"

"Vanessa said you were selling custom t-shirts." the boy replied frankly, "I'd like a red tee that says 'Speak to Me' across the front. How much?"

"Just a second, I need to speak with my sister." Vander exhaled, snatching Vanessa's wrist and pulling her out of earshot, "Why did you bring him here?" "You owe me." she answered smugly, "I want you to place a love spell on Matt with me. Then, I'll share my smarts with you."

"Isn't that against the rules?" Vander pressed. "Isn't magic of any kind against mom's rules?" Vanessa countered, "Forget the rules and let's do this thing!"

Reluctantly, Vander held up his pinkie and Vanessa eagerly latched on. Matt turned around as a flash of light exploded from their hands. When it went dark, Matt was standing still. "Did it work?" Vanessa questioned, walking over to her blue-eyed crush, "Hey, Matt?"

"Vanessa?" he gulped, "What just happened?"

"She wanted to cast a love spell on you!" Vander blurted, "It wasn't my idea, I'm sorry!"

Matt blinked. "Spell?" he clarified, "Like magic? Do you two have magic?!" "Would you date me if we did?" Vanessa inquired. "I wouldn't date you either way." he answered, "I don't date."

"Oh." Vanessa sighed, "Well, this is awkward."

Vander and Vanessa walked home quietly that day. After several minutes, Vanessa spoke up. "See, Vander?" she began, "Nothing bad happened."
"We used magic twice and neither time was what I wanted to use it for!" Vander exploded, remembering they were in public before lowering his voice, "If you hadn't tried making Matt fall in love with you, we wouldn't have needed to wipe his memories, and I would have gotten the help I asked for!"

"Don't blame me for all this!" Vanessa argued, "You probably sabotaged our spell and that's why it didn't work!" "Actually, I let you do it." Vander replied, "You probably messed it up."

"Whatever." Vanessa grumbled, waving her hand in the air, "I'll help you when we get home. Mom doesn't get home till five, so we have lots of time for a quick spell."

"If you do it right." Vander added as they walked up their driveway and unlocked the door. They hurried inside and tossed their bags aside. "Here." Vanessa offered, holding up her hand for her brother.

Vander touched Vanessa's hand and everything around them began to glow. The floor cracked and the walls shook on their foundation. The twins tried pulling apart to no avail, and in a flash of light, Vander and Vanessa were on opposite ends of the room, laying on the floor in pain.

"What was that?!" Vander groaned, rolling onto his stomach to try getting up, "It definitely wasn't the Knowledge Transfer Spell I was hoping for!"

"I don't know, Van." Vanessa replied hesitantly, "I think, we may be losing control of our Twinstinct."

Vander looked down at his hand, the places where he had touched his sister's hand were charred and black. "Well, as long as we don't use it, that won't be a problem." he said after awhile, "I mean, we can't tell Mom about this; she'll find out we broke one of her biggest rules!"

"True." Vanessa agreed, walking over to her brother and holding out her hand, "No more magic then?" Vander nodded, grabbing his sister's hand to seal the deal. On contact, a sharp pain shot through Vander's palm and up his wrist. "Yowch!" he yelled, pulling his hand away, "Did you feel that?!"
Vanessa nodded, rubbing her stinging hand, and gulped, "Yeah."

This was the first time the twins ever had problems controlling their magic that they could remember. Something must have happened.

"The Love Spell!" Vanessa cursed, remembering her attempt at snagging her dream-boy earlier in the day, "It didn't work, but what if the energy is still hanging around?" "Like loitering?" Vander questioned."No," Vanessa replied quickly, "like, what if that spell backed up our magic and now it is trying to restabilize but can't?"
"Is that even a thing?" Vander countered, "Cassie would've known."

Immediately, Vanessa turned away. It had been a while since she heard anyone mention her sister. Eight years had passed since the incident, but that still didn't erase the pain. Their sister knew so much about magic; she'd know exactly what to do and how to do it. Vander was right. They needed help, but it wouldn't be coming from their dead older sister.

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